Over the last few years with the economy in the dumps, many of us who have struggled have heard comments about how, as individuals, being more optimistic could help individuals move forward through their economic travails and get back on their feet sooner and headed towards the path to economic success. Some even surmise that our local community is suffering, because of a pervading pessimistic mood that has taken hold in the community like a contagion. I have been chastised time and time again for not being upbeat about this community. Maybe it is just my inherent personality, but I can't get a feel for what these people are saying.
I understand belief systems, I understand devotion, I understand perseverance and endurance... That is what keeps me going. That is what gives me hope that things will turn around. Yes, it is up to me as an individual to keep moving forward and keep challenging myself, but the anxiety and the depressed state of my emotions to me is understandable. I had no problem with making a modest income and not having all of the fancy trappings of life, but the last five years of my personal life have been a struggle; not in terms of making ends meet as much as not making personal economic progress -- closer to old age with nothing to show. I cannot do the physical work that I do when I get much older. And what does this treading water hold for my future?
I believe that intellectually through the necessity of the expansion of my cultural and social understanding that I have grown greatly. We have leaders on the local level all the way up to the top of the pyramid in this nation who think that if you have the opportunity, then you should work yourself to death. In my line of work, working on a line in a kitchen, you will not live very long if you work 60 hours a week. I used to do it up until a few years ago and it tears your body up and is mentally very stressful -- to the point of physical and mental exhaustion. In the end what I am espousing is that I believe that it has been necessary for my priorities to change.
Maybe it has been a blessing that so many have had to take a step back from the rat race. I have read stories lately about how the labor dynamic in this country has been permanently altered. Productivity is up, because of robotic automation. Jobs have been offshored due to transfer costs related to labor costs versus the bottom line Corporate Profit picture. While this has gone on, since the year 2000, we see the economic realities of a cost of living that has increased by at least 30% (Consumer Price Index), a median household income that in real terms has fallen by 10%, and a United States population that has grown by 10%. None of that bodes well for the economic future of this nation unless their are dramatic shifts in its economic realities.
As I have stated to others, many of us rightfully feel anger and frustration towards the apathy, ambivalence,
and status quo mentality of many of the people in this community; who seem to be
saying that the economy is bad around here, because we have bad
attitudes. I disagree with that assessment and believe that the anger
and frustration comes from the bad economy, a lack of vision of many
people in this community, impediments by many in decision making
positions towards taking action, and a lack of empathy towards those who
are less fortunate.
I can tell you that I don't seek pity. I certainly don't want someone patronizing me. All anyone wants is opportunity. Impediments block opportunity. A lack of acknowledgement of those impediments makes the problems we face even worse.
I try to convey messages of relevance on this blog. I try to provide proper references and give detailed data and statistical summaries of what I proffer here. I also try to fully separate my opinion from the material presentations that are presented. Yes, I do display emotions, because I am a human being; but unlike the Dinosaur media, I don't try to pretend that I am impartial without a rooting interest, because I am an advocate, but I am an objective advocate.
One thing that I believe that we have spread here on this blog is that we must strive for excellence. That means that WE are going to have to take some risks and get out of our comfort zone I do realize that there are people who are still doing well economically. I know people from every segment of the socio-economic strata. Many of these people are going about their lives business as usual. I am an observant person. I see the cars people drive and many are obviously still going out to dinner and spending lots of money. But I also see the melancholy that has pervaded much of our society. There is a sense that something is missing. Maybe, just maybe, it is that God and spirituality have taken a back seat to material acquisitions. I see people who wear their religiosity on their sleeves, while promoting their personal material badges. I don't believe that those ideals go hand in hand. Think Humility.
When I speak of striving for excellence, I am not talking about the personal attainment of luxuries. I am talking about the overall "Quality of Life" environment that surrounds us as individuals. I believe that the ecosystem in which we live is integral to the excellence of us as individuals. If the people around me are happier, then I am going to be happier. If you are in a room of 100 people and 10 are in a bad mood, then you can still say that "there is always one in every crowd" and the attitude of the room will remain positive. If you have 50 in that room that are upset, then soon another 40 are going to be upset and the tables are going to be completely reversed. When I talk about momentum, this is exactly what I am talking about. Right now we have negative economic momentum in this community and in this nation.
I look to the fashion that has become ingrained in our culture and in some ways I have been a participant in it. This sense of dressing down and not being judged for how one looks. I think a lot of us have done this , because our jobs don't necessitate us being in a uniform or needing to be presentable. In my personal industry, we are around food and chemicals and we are actively working, so anything we wear is going to get ruined fairly soon. But, in saying that, I do realize that this style has become a reality as part of my every day wardrobe and since the dynamics of my personal life have been downtrodden, I have dressed the part on a mostly permanent basis over the last few years.
In my personal life, I have felt the blahs related to this negative momentum that could definitely be described as pessimism. I have gotten tired of being tired and achy. Some of this has been related to the feeling of mortality due to my grandmother's passing, some has been due to the loss of people in my life, some is related to knowing that my life is closer to over than beginning, and a lot of it is related to this survival mode that I have been in that feels like it is never going to end. I have told people that I have learned to embrace my bitterness. Much of this discomfort had caused me to not go to Church over the last several months and that was only snowballing these feelings. So, I made a New Year's resolution to take a stand, whether feeling like it or not, and get back to church and try to wear a suit when attending.
In the end, it is all about making an effort, even if one is just going through the motions in the beginning. I think for too long, many of us have found every way possible to follow the path of least resistance. I think the path of least resistance, and the false comfort that lies therein, is what has led this nation to where we are today. It is going to take a few of us, who are willing to take a stand, to turn the tide. We are going to have to create some resistance. Discomfort is coming whether we seek it or we wait on its arrival. Embrace the anxiety. It means you are alive.
Drumroll Please !!! - Hickory Metro is the 8th worst place in the United States to find a job. - U.S.News & World Report - Danielle Kurtzleben - January 23, 2012